October 9, 2009

Ash Turns the Color of an Avocado When Mike V. Drives Down the Street in His El Dorado

Filed under: Top Chef — Chris @ 8:11 pm

Gosh, this week featured one of the loopiest Judges’ Tables in a long time. First, we had Ash’s bizarre sycophantic praise of Michael—which had the doubly unhelpful effect of making Ash look dispensible while emphasizing that Michael was almost entirely responsible for a failed dish—followed by Ashley’s exhausted failure to give the judges a single reason to let her stay. On a first viewing, I thought it was strange that the judges focused on Ashley and let Eli off the hook. On a rewatch, it’s clear that Ashley, in staying loyal to her teammate, took the bulk of the blame for both the undercooked prawns and the over-salted gnocchi. Probably, per Rule C, the undercooked prawns were enough to send her home. Throw in a sprinkle of Rules D and E and she was done for.

Predictions: I’m going to stick with Laurine for next week. There’s just as good a chance of it being Ash or Robin, but I’ll feel stupid if I switch.

Random observations

  • Kevin’s “High Stakes Quickfire” choice this week was a no-brainer. At minimum, his chance of making it through this round was 9 out of 10. In reality, his chance of making a worse dish than Ash and Ashley and Eli and Laurine and Mike and Robin all at the same time was very, very close to zero. At minimum, his chances of winning the $100,000 grand prize at this point are 1 in 10. In reality, his chances of winning are more like 1 in 5 (roughly equal with Bryan, Jennifer, and Michael, with a 25% wildcard factor) and aren’t going to change much until some of the heavy hitters get axed. In addition, the marginal value of being eliminated in Episode 7 versus Episode 8 is neglible. Kevin is already going to benefit a great deal from his run on the show, no matter how much farther he goes.
  • I really miss the Tom Colicchio kitchen walkthroughs in the first half of the season.
  • Mike is lucky to not have faced a Rule F elimination this week. Who do you think would have gone home if that tuna and scallops dish had fallen short, when he had consciously and none-too-subtly marginalized Robin through the whole process?
  • The only thing more important to me than winning this competition is my visceral hatred of womankind.

    The only thing more important to me than winning this competition is my visceral hatred of womankind.

  • To Tyler Florence, on behalf of every Top Chef viewer in the world: of course you can take “the power went off” as an excuse. It’s, like, the best excuse ever.
  • Also in re Mr Florence: Is it the fate of all young attractive male food celebrities to pork out and make everybody sad?


  1. Yo, Cinemaniac86 from Wiki here. I’m glad wikistalking led me to this. Now I have something fun to follow-up TC episodes with.

    (Also, thanks for supporting the QF Top/Bottom idea.)

    Great recap, btw, and also a change of pace from the usual dry recaps. But I think you’re underestimating Laurine just a tad–not that I think she’s amazing or anything. BUT she’s been on the top twice, so she can be great at times. Perhaps Jennifer won’t be the only female chef with a win to her name. (It’s a real shame Ashley didn’t win that cowboy challenge….I mean, Bryan, thrice, seriously? Zzzzz.)

    I am not sure why, but I find myself actually liking Mike. It’s strange. First episode, total douchenozzle. Since then though, he’s grown on me–particularly when he flirts with Ash….

    Whatever, I really hope Jennifer wins this season, with Kevin as runner-up. We need another female TC. Jamie should’ve been last year–so robbed.

    Comment by James — October 10, 2009 @ 3:58 pm

  2. James, Thanks for stopping by. I’m not so anti Laurine. I just think she’s inconsistent, like Ashley, and clearly not in the upper tier. There’s a good chance she’ll make it through next week, since it looks like a comfort food-y challenge and that seems to be something she’s good at.

    Mike, I go back and forth on. His irrational hatred for Robin really gets under my skin.

    Here’s rooting for Jennifer and Kevin!

    Comment by Chris — October 11, 2009 @ 5:00 pm

  3. Hell yes!….But again, especially Jennifer. About time that girl won an E.C. =). And good observation regarding the comfort food challenge. I didn’t scrutinize the preview, but perhaps she could win a la Antonia (who was, of course, a more refined and creative chef with an affinity for home-cooking, due to her being a mother and all). It just saddens me to see this show not seek out stronger females. This is why Season 4 remains the best bar none to me. Lots of interesting people and a great variety.

    I totally understand the aggravation for Mike. I hated him the first ep, then warmed up to him–but come to think of it, the constant slandering of Robin was just so annoying that I was ready to see them be in the B4 so he’d get a shocker elimination. (Mattin doesn’t count, since he mostly sucked. No matter how cute he is…which is quite a lot.) As for Ashley, since she was in the top twice, I was hoping she’d get a win before her inevitable elimination. Oh well.

    I’m already looking forward to Season 7 more, tbh. The cast, while obviously talented, is on the ass-end of boring this year.

    Comment by James — October 11, 2009 @ 5:33 pm

  4. I really liked Ashley. She was my dark horse. Ugh. Ash should’ve gone home. Or Eli. But then again, Ashley did take responsibility for her failed dish. Good for her, yes, so honest and all, but I wish the other (weak!) chefs were sent home instead. Damn those spot prawns and gnocchi.

    Comment by Toni — October 13, 2009 @ 6:35 am

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